Alice and Lisa, met us in a coffee shop in their neighbourhood. Together, we had a conversation about citizenship, relationships, and disability.
Alice is a mother and active community member. She enjoys going for walks and playing cards with friends and family. She discussed a strong desire to better her community through the creation of opportunities for people with and without disabilities to connect with one another.
Lisa is a vibrant young woman with a contagious laugh. She gave us an extensive list of things she likes to do including: hanging out with friends, listening to music, creating art, going to yoga, working in a community garden, going to work, and doing word searches. Through our conversation, we learned Lisa takes great pride in her roles as daughter and employee. She reported enjoying helping her mom around the house and recalled some fond memories from her previous job with Coffee News.
Alice and Lisa like to spend time in their community together. They expressed enjoying going to movies and concerts and shopping together. They were both particularly looking forward to the upcoming Celtic Thunder concert in October.
What does community mean to Alice and Lisa?
When asked what community means to them, they discussed being with others and sharing in common experiences.
In Alice’s words it means:
“Trying to get everybody involved. Help[ing] one another mow the grass, planting something, playing cards enjoy[ing] each other’s company, and going for walks. I wish they would do that in my area but we don’t have that.”
They identified their neighborhood as a community but reported missing a sense of belonging in that community.
When asked if she felt a part of community Alice said:
“No, but I wish I did. The community I’m moving into has all seniors. I feel left out ’cause I’m younger than them. I’d like to get connect with the community but it’s hard to get a hold of people. The community isn’t involved. They don’t make anything for young families and they should. No one does anything for anybody. [Other community members] don’t [say] what’s going on in the neighborhood.”
Alice expressed a need for all people to come together, to learn from each other:
“People without disabilities and with disabilities you can still do things together. We gotta make it easier for people to deal with [people with disabilities] and not get upset [by] it.”
What does disability mean to them?
To end our conversation, Alice shared what she wants others to know about disability:
“[We should] not fear it. Sure you gotta deal with it, but just be yourself. There are ways to deal with it and not to deal with it. See I have dyslexia and [Lisa] does too. But I don’t see myself as a disability. I just go out. I don’t let it get people down. You’re not a disability. You’re just yourself. If you got no arms, you got no legs, you can still do it.”
Why did Alice and Lisa want to be part of Project Citizenship?
Alice expressed a strong desire, for herself and her daughter, to be a part of Project Citizenship so they could share their experiences. When asked how, as a community, we could showcase and share the experiences of people with disabilities, Alice replied:
“Advertising, and if we can try and put it on TV somehow how to deal with it how people know if they got disabilities how to face it.”
We would like to express words of gratitude to Alice and Lisa for sharing small pieces of their stories’ with us.
Signed Kristin and Paige- Citizen Explorers